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Assailants Arraigned for Raustein's Murder

By Sarah Y. Keightley
News Editor

Joseph D. Donovan, 17, Alfredo Velez, 18, and Shon McHugh, 15, were arraigned yesterday on murder and robbery charges in connection with Friday's fatal stabbing of Yngve K. Raustein '94. Bail was set at $1 million each, or a $100,000 cash alternative for Donovan and Velez and a $500,000 cash alternative for McHugh.

The three defendants were charged with assault with intent to murder and armed robbery. If found guilty, the maximum penalty for Donovan and Velez, who are legally adults, would be life imprisonment without parole. As a juvenile, McHugh could be sentenced to 20 years in jail, 15 of them without parole.

However, the Middlesex County District Attorney's office wants to try McHugh as an adult. A transfer hearing, which will determine if McHugh should be tried as a juvenile or an adult, will follow his pretrial conference.

Under Massachusetts law, 16-year-olds can be tried as adults. McHugh is one month shy of his sixteenth birthday.

During Donovan's and Velez's arraignment, Martin Murphy, a prosecutor from the district attorney's office, asked that bail be set at $500,000. The presiding judge, Arthur Sherman, instead set bail for Donovan and Velez at $1 million each or a $100,000 cash alternative. The pretrial conference was set for Oct. 1.

McHugh was arraigned separately because of his status as a minor. His bail was set at $1 million or $500,000 in cash. His pretrial conference was scheduled for Oct. 6.

Prosecutor recounts story

At the hearing, Murphy recounted the events of Friday night:

The three defendants were walking down Memorial Drive, allegedly with the "purpose of stealing money from an MIT student," he said. They encountered Raustein and his companion, Arne Fredheim G, an exchange student from Norway, at 9:45 p.m. Donovan asked the two what language they were speaking. One of them replied that they were speaking Norwegian, and without provocation Donovan allegedly punched Raustein, knocking him to the ground. Donovan then stole Raustein's wallet, Murphy said.

When Raustein did not stay down, McHugh allegedly stabbed him between the seventh and eighth ribs. At this time, Velez was robbing Fredheim.

The assailants fled across the Harvard Bridge into the Kenmore Square area. Before crossing the bridge, Donovan allegedly menaced a passerby, repeating, "What are you looking at?" The passerby later identified Donovan to police.

At the Li'l Peach Store on Beacon Street, the three allegedly split the $33 they had stolen, cleaned off the knife with napkins, and discussed playing "knock-out," a game where one would try to knock someone to the ground with one hit. Murphy also said McHugh bragged to the others about how the knife went all the way through Raustein's body.

Near Walker Memorial, the MIT Campus Police unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate Raustein using CPR. His wound was about four inches deep. He was pronounced dead at Massachusetts General Hospital at 10:05 p.m.

Two Boston University police officers apprehended the suspects at about 10:15 p.m.

Two witnesses, Fredheim and the passerby, were brought to Kenmore Square, where they identified the three teenagers. McHugh was "specially identified as the one" who stabbed Raustein, the prosecutor said. Police noted McHugh had blood on his pants and shoes.

Velez later gave a complete confession. In addition, Donovan's right hand required medical attention over the weekend. At the arraignment he wore a cast. The prosecutor asked the court to note that Donovan was the one who allegedly punched Raustein.

The prosecutor also noted that Donovan was currently on probation for malicious destruction of property.

McHugh could be tried as adult

The Middlesex District Attorney's Office wants to try McHugh as an adult.

According to yesterday's Boston Globe, this is the "fourth time in recent months that [District Attorney Thomas] Reilly's office has sought to try a juvenile as an adult."

McHugh's defense attorney, Al Nugent, said, "The crux of the case is [Velez's] confessions" and the observations made by police. When Velez gave his confession, it "put the knife in this young man's [McHugh's] hands," Nugent said. McHugh's parents had never heard of Donovan or Velez, he added.

In his argument, Nugent said he was "stunned" that the bail could be set at $1 million, saying it sounded like a "Hollywood-type scenario. ... But we have MIT here, we have newspapers here," he continued. If the murder had taken place in another city, such as Roxbury or Watertown, the bail would not have been so high, he said.

Nugent noted that McHugh's parents are divorced. He said that McHugh had a "one-time" complaint on his record, a result of an argument over a bicycle.

About 40 classmates of Donovan, Velez, and McHugh from Cambridge Rindge & Latin high school were present during the arraignment of Donovan and Velez. Most of McHugh's friends were not allowed to attend his arraignment, since they were minors.

... I don't believe what I've read in the newspapers... I've heard so many different stories."

Mike Povio, another friend of McHugh, said, "Why didn't the MIT police stop them after the first incident they were involved in?" He referred to reports that the three were involved in an earlier unspecified incident in Cambridge. "It would have prevented what happened," he said.